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Latest On Kodai Senga’s Market

NPB Pitcher Kodai Senga Expected To Explore MLB Opportunities This Offseason

Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga will be looking to sign with an MLB team this winter. He figures to garner plenty of interest based on his track record of success with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He’s already been connected to the Cubs, while Jon Morosi of MLB Network adds the Blue Jays and Mariners to the mix (Twitter links). Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune lists the Padres as interested, while adding that virtually every other team will be as well.

The widespread interest is easy to understand. Just about every team in baseball could use an upgrade in the starting rotation and Senga seems plenty capable of providing that. Turning 30 in January, he already has a years-long track record of success in Japan. Most recently, he tossed 144 innings in 2022 with a 1.94 ERA, 27.5% strikeout rate and 8.6% walk rate.

Adding to the interest will be that Senga is a proper free agent and not subject to the posting system. When players come over from Japan or Korea, they will usually be posted by their NPB or KBO team. The MLB team that signs the player would have to pay a fee to the posting team, which is not a cut of the contract. It’s an additional cost that is not subtracted from what the player is owed. However, the Hawks have a policy against posting their players and thus held onto Senga until their control over his services was exhausted. Going into his final year of control, he signed an extension with the team but one that allowed him the opportunity to opt out and become a proper free agent. That means that whoever signs Senga will not have to pay any extra fees to the Hawks.

The Blue Jays make for a fairly logical Senga suitor, given their starting pitching struggles in 2022. The Jays were able to win 92 games on the year but did so largely on the strength of their lineup and in spite of a lopsided starting rotation. Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman were excellent and provided the club with a strong one-two punch, but that was also offset by poor performances from José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi.

In the case of Berríos, he kept his ERA steadily between 3.52 and 4.00 for the five previous seasons before seeing it balloon up to 5.23 in his first full season with Toronto. Kikuchi was up-and-down during his time with the Mariners but posted a 5.19 ERA after signing a three-year deal with the Jays. Mitch White, acquired from the Dodgers in a deadline deal when he had a 3.70 ERA, ended up posting a 7.74 figure in his time with Toronto. After

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